Why New Brunswick? A formidable answer....the town of St. Andrews by-the-sea.
The roar of the prop plane engine intensified. The scene outside my window began to blur as the plane gathered speed. Lifting off, I felt like I was leaving home.
On this four night family vacation I came to learn that the Canadian province of New Brunswick has a seaside gem of a town named St. Andrews by-the-sea. The town left a wonderfully warm impression.
Located on the Bay of Fundy we watched the rise and fall of the greatest tidal change in the world. The ocean's ebbing and flowing enhanced the unique character of the town. Brightly coloured houses, quaint shops, seaside patios and a captivating history solidified the towns place in authenticity.
Exploring what the town had to offer had us whale watching, sea kayaking, taking a jeep tour of Ministers Island, experiencing the Thursday morning town market, walking on the ocean floor, stepping into the cells of the town's historical prison, wandering Kingsbrae Gardens, brousing many quaint local shops and enjoying great meals.
Rich in wonderful subtlties this small town holds more than it's own as a destination.
W.B. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish literary Revival. In 1932 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for what the committee described as “inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of the whole nation.”
Visiting County Sligo I was drawn to the bronze statue of William Butler Yeats. Crouching down on a bronze cloth which held the words of his poem it appeared as though he was reading them. So moved by this poem I chose to place the poem in our Journal Entires.
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, / Enwrought with golden and silver light, / The blue and the dim and the dark cloths / Of night and light and the half-light, / I would spread the cloths under your feet: / But I, being poor, have only my dreams; / I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
The horses pulling the jaunting car whinned. In jostling their heads the jingle, jangle of their bit and harnesses set me back in time.
A time where kings and queens ruled and getting about was a horses domain. It was a beauty of a day. The breeze passing by created a rustle in the leaves of the trees lining the long paved path leading us deep into Killarney National Park. The clip clop of the horses hooves pleasantly broke the romantic silence. The partially canoped laneway majestically opened up to Muckross House. With it's spectacular gardens and mountainous backdrop is a sight to see. I took note of the old country setting and massive trees. The most outstanding memory of the inside of the house was a huge room with two small beds. It was the obsurdity of the demension descrepancy that had me raising an eyebrow. In the 1850's, in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861, extensive renovations were undertaken. The cost to prepare for such a visit is said to have contributed to the financial difficulties incurred by the owner and the eventual sale of the property. Built in Tudor style with sixty-five rooms it is, most certainly, a house fit for royalty.
Historically - In 1932 Musckross House and it 11,000 acre estate was presented to the Irish Nation. This property formed the basis of present day Killarney National Park.
It seems I see life in blues and greens. In the desert I do not see life I see survival.
If you are going to vacation in the desert it is only fitting that, to get a real feel for the terrain, you hike it. And hike it Jo and I did. With our cameras in hand we set out to experience Palm Canyon, one of three Indian Canyons located in the Palm Springs area. Palm Canyon is known for it's oasis. Largest native California Fan Palm oasis in the world. Being here in May put us at the beginning of dry season. Waters not flowing and soaring temperatures (100 plus degress) did not deter us. We began our six mile hike with enthusiam and ended it with a touch of heat stroke. Remember, life is an adventure.
We revelled in the first half mile of our trek. We were treated to the oasis where huge Fan Palm trees provided shade and colour. As we walked the oasis gave way to the starkness of the desert. The world around us became muted. Shades of brown enveloped the views. Our walking path became dusty. The landscape had been sucked dry. Still there was beauty. At least that is what Jo was telling me. Eventually I came around and did my best to see beauty and life in shades of brown. A cactus growing out of a crack in a rock caught my eye. With drops of sweat continuously running down my face I captured a shot of the cactus. The cactus appeared to not only to be surviving but flourishing in this harsh environment. The road runner, jack rabbit and multitude of lizards we saw were thriving too. They had made the desert their home.
Despite thinking we had walked many miles we trekked onto our Stone Pools destination (three miles in). Peering 30 feet down at the large dry stones embedded in parched sand we had to put our imagination caps on. Invisioning a waterfall's cascading water was the first of our challenges. The second being, seeing the swirling cool water at the waterfall's endpoint making it's way around the large eroded boulders. What a sight it would have been.
On our way back, Jo and I marvelled at the dichotomy of desert and oasis. Our elevated vantage point provided us a fantastic view of the contrasting environments. What a marvel. I thought of wanderers being elated when they crested the upteenth hill to the vision of row upon row of palm trees. I imagined the travelers questioning the authenticity as they ran forward to their heaven on earth. I know that Jo and I both appreciated being able to walk back into the shaded, much cooler oasis.
Today Jo and I gained a better appreciation of desert life. With our legs dirty with soot and our body's down at least a few litres of water we smiled at having spent our morning creating new memories.
Life is not just in blues and greens. Life comes in all colours.
Let me start by saying I was thoroughly impressed with Round Hill Hotel and Villas. A quaint property steeped in history while maintaining a meticulously kept present.
Nestled in the rainforest, 34 gardeners keep this property pristine. Kingsley, longtime hotel guest greeter, showed us to our villa. We were to be in Cottage #1. Sitting on our private patio we looked out onto the Caribbean Sea. Behind us stood our private villa. Any personal tension did not have a chance when pitted against the fresh easy air feel of this place. Strangely, I felt at home.